|Credit: Colin Peddle|
Only his fifth North American professional goal ended the 2013-14 season in the fourteenth minute of the first overtime period. It was a beauty of a goal that ended the series. The defensive defenseman stepped past St. John's Jordan Hill and backhand roofed one past the glove hand of Michael Hutchinson.
The Stars flooded the ice as the team celebrated its first Calder Cup in franchise history. Travis Morin, who had 22 points in 21 games this playoffs, won the Jack A Butterfield Trophy as playoff MVP. It was the first time since 2008 that the regular season MVP also won the playoff MVP trophy.
Captain Maxime Fortunus accepted the Calder Cup from Dave Andrews. He passed it to Travis Morin, who passed it to veteran Derek Meech and beyond to Dustin Jeffrey, Cameron Gaunce and Cristopher Nilstorp. The goalie stepped up to stop 33 of 36 shots, winning his second professional championship.
|Nemeth celebrates the GWG (Credit: Colin Peddle)|
Hedden's goal was just the sixth shot of the night. Though it spanned the intermission, the Stars scored on their very next shot. Brett Ritchie sent in a knuckler that even he probably didn't expect to go in. With two defenders on him at the blue line, the shot appeared to catch Hutchinson off guard and went in blocker side high. It was a 2-0 lead for the Stars and they were feeling pretty good. They had scored on two of seven shots to that point.
The IceCaps turned the tide in the second half of the middle frame. From the point and through traffic, Jordan Hill beat Nilstorp for the 2-1 score. Six minutes later, the IceCaps would take advantage of a power play though it wouldn't show on the scoreboard. Just as Chris Mueller rejoined the team on the ice, Zach Redmond put a pass on the tape of Josh Lunden through a mess of sticks and legs. Lunden popped it in off the left wing side low with no one on him.
Texas needed to play a measured game heading into the third period. Just do what they do and they would find success. The Stars were 5-0 when tied after two periods coming into the game.
Looking for the D-to-D pass in the period's sixth minute, Jamie Oleksiak put the puck right on the stick of Blair Riley with no one near him. Riley lifted it over Nilstorp for the 3-2 lead on the bad pass. With their chances to close things out dwindling, Mike Hedden stepped up again. Justin Dowling passed the puck into the slot off the left wing side. The IceCaps defender popped the puck up into the air with his stick and into the body of Hedden. Off his left hand, which was gripped over the stick, Hedden knocked a rainbow of a puck over Hutchinson for the three all tie. The goal went to review but the call stood, despite the protestations of St. John's.
Overtime was fast and frenetic for Texas and St. John's. The two combined for 18 shots in the extra period. Nemeth was the OT hero. He burned Jordan Hill on the play and roofed one over Hutchinson for the 4-3 win and the Calder Cup championship. It was a yard sale as the Stars shed their gloves and helmets to dogpile Nemeth in the corner.
Texas will return home tomorrow and celebrate its win with its fans on Thursday.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Robinson, Labrie, Guptill, Troock, Hulak, Vause, Wrenn, Byström, Desrosiers, Peters (scratched)
Klingberg, Petersen (injury)
"One of the trademarks of an elite organization is their ability to train and develop players in a winning environment," said Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill. "The Texas Stars have done a great job with all of these facets this season and I know firsthand that the rewards from winning the Calder Cup will have a profoundly positive impact for each of our prospects and our team in Dallas as we move forward. We congratulate Scott White, as well as Willie Desjardins, the players and the rest of the Texas Stars staff for an outstanding season."
Today's attendance was 6,287.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas at St. John's - June 17 2014